Celebrating 50 Years of APR

Perhaps you’ve seen the initials “APR” after some of our names and email signatures and wondered what it means. In public relations, APR stands for “Accredited in Public Relations,” a distinction that many PR professionals pursue to demonstrate their commitment to the profession and its ethical practice.

APR accreditation is voluntary, just like CPA certification. But just as you’d probably feel more comfortable having a CPA do your taxes than just a tax preparer, having an APR develop and/or review your strategic PR plan should likewise boost your confidence in the plan’s recommendations.

The APR program was launched in 1964 and has evolved over the years to focus less on an academic body of knowledge and more on demonstrated competence in 16 specific areas of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) across these topics:

  • Research, planning, implementation and evaluation (RPIE)
  • Ethics and law
  • Communication models and theories
  • Business literacy
  • Management skills and issues
  • Crisis communication management
  • Media relations
  • Using information technology efficiently
  • History of and current issues in public relations
  • Advanced communication skills

The APR program is administered by the Universal Accreditation Board, currently comprised of 21 members representing public relations organizations across a spectrum of industries.

The accreditation process has two parts: a Readiness Review and a computer-based exam. Candidates complete a comprehensive questionnaire that is reviewed by a panel of APRs and then go before the panel to present a case study and answer additional questions that demonstrate their competence. If they pass the Readiness Review, candidates then take a rigorous multiple-choice exam. Although they receive an unofficial score upon completion of the exam, they receive official notification of their Accreditation status by mail a few weeks later.

Presently, there are more than 5,000 APRs worldwide. S&A Cherokee has three APRs on staff. To maintain accreditation, APRs must document their continuing education, professional development, professionalism and service activities every three years.

“Our founder, Ron Smith, earned his APR in the 1970s and has always maintained that we will have APRs on staff,” said Chuck Norman, APR, owner/principal. “For an agency of our size, having access to three APRs that can oversee PR strategies and tactics for our clients is a big asset and differentiator.”

To discover how S&A Cherokee can help with your strategic public relations needs, contact us for a free consultation at (919) 674-6020.

Author: Glenn Gillen, APR
Glenn Gillen is our Senior Account Manager.

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